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An Overview of Mid-Century Modern Style

Written by Posted On Friday, 09 November 2018 07:47

People have become seemingly obsessed with mid-century interior design style. If you follow design blogs, read design magazines or your regularly browse Instagram and Pinterest, you’ll see a lot of examples of this distinctive style.

From mid-century modern light fixtures to mid-century modern furniture like sofas and ottomans, it’s everywhere.

With that being said, have you ever wondered exactly what the term refers to, what could be included in the classification of mid-century modern, and why people love it so much?

The following is everything you need to know about mid-century modern style in the interior design world.

Where Did Mid-Century Modern Originate?

If you love Mad Men, then you probably already know where mid-century modern design began, even if you didn’t know before.

Mid-century modern design is a term that’s typically used to refer to the interior design and furniture styles of the 1960s. The term itself didn’t come about until 1984, however, when it was written about by Cara Greenberg.

Styles that came about following World War II starting as early as 1945 up to 1969 can sometimes be included in this term.

What was unique about mid-century design is the fact that the United States was looking forward to what was on the horizon following the dark and dismal war period.

For example, everyone in America at the time when mid-century design first really became popular was fascinated with space and astronauts, and what the future would hold.

Mid-century modern wasn’t just about interior design either—it’s a term that’s also used to reference architecture, materials, and technologies that were widely used following the end of the war and through the 60s.

What Are the Key Components of Mid-Century Design?

One of the primary components of any type of mid-century design is simplicity. It’s about sleek, streamlined furniture and design elements and there aren’t a lot of details included in mid-century design.

Some designers will say that it’s about the functionality of the items being used.

This isn’t entirely different from more contemporary modern designs which are about clean lines and multi-use functionality.

Specific details of mid-century furniture might include peg legs on piece and shapes that are organic and reflective of nature.

Bold Colors

While the actual designs of furniture and architecture are simple and streamlined in mid-century modern design, where there is a level of visual interest is with the color palettes.

There are a lot of bold colors used in this design style, and many design experts feel that the use of these bright colors reflected people’s sense of optimism following the end of the war.

Colors like orange, red and blue can all be part of mid-century design, but that didn’t mean that these colors were all being combined. Instead, a room or space might have one bold color, and then the rest of the color palette would be fairly neutral.

The Materials

There is presently a lot of attention focused on sustainable and natural materials in interior design, but this isn’t a new concept. It really originated in American design with the mid-century modern styles. For example, stone fireplaces and walls were common, as were ceilings and walls with wood planks.

Many homes that embody mid-century design made good use of natural light, and they would blur the lines between the indoors and the outdoors with a lot of glass, massive windows, and glass doors throughout.

Why Do People Love Mid-Century Modern Now?

There are some reasons mid-century modern design is still relevant and still integrated into people’s homes. First and foremost, the sense of simplicity works well for a lot of people, especially Millennials and younger generations. Millennials tend to embrace concepts of simplicity and minimalism, which are in line with mid-century design. There’s not a lot of “stuff” or clutter in mid-century design.

It’s also a design that works well in smaller spaces, and this is important as people are tending to move toward embracing smaller homes and living environments for various reasons.

How Do You Bring Mid-Century Design to Your Home?

There are different ways you can incorporate mid-century design into your home. One option is by purchasing new furniture that’s designed with the elements of mid-century incorporated into the pieces. There are a lot of furniture companies and designers that focus exclusively on mid-century-inspired pieces.

Another option is to shop for vintage items. Of course, you can always mix new and vintage items into a space as well. You might shop for one vintage and authentic mid-century item, which could end up being a splurge piece, and then build the rest of a room around that. 

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